Aerial view of Nashville in Tennessee

Where to Stay in Nashville (Best Areas, By a Local)

Each one of Nashville’s neighborhoods has a distinct character and vibe. It’s almost like visiting multiple cities at once. So choosing where to stay in Nashville really depends on the experience you want in the city. 

No matter which neighborhood you choose, you’ll never be all that far from live music, trendy restaurants, cool bars, and the many things to do in Nashville. But, of course, you’ll still want to find the absolute best place to stay for your situation. 

Never fear though, because I’m a local and I’m here to help! 

Want to spend your time sightseeing and visiting honky tonks? Downtown Nashville might be the best place to stay. If you’re looking for a more local experience, East Nashville might be the best area for you. 

No matter what you are looking for out of your visit to Nashville, this article will help you find the best areas and places for your stay: 

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

Best Places to Stay in Nashville

View of neon signs form establishments in Downtown Nashville
Downtown Nashville (photo: f11photo / Shutterstock)

Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Nashville? Here are my top picks:

Ok, let’s do a deep dive into the best areas and neighborhoods in Nashville.

7 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Nashville

Nashville is located on the Cumberland River. The city’s downtown is located to the west of the river, and the city has expanded from there. The city has some sprawl, but there are many neighborhoods that form walkable pockets. Where to stay in Nashville depends on what you want from your experience while visiting, but let’s start with one of the most popular areas to stay:

Downtown

View of the Ryman Auditorium From the outside
The Ryman Auditorium

👉 Best Area for Nightlife and Sightseeing | Best Downtown Hotels: Drury Plaza HotelThe Hermitage HotelThe Capitol Hotel

Downtown is the heart of Nashville. This area is full of music venues, restaurants, bars, museums, and historic landmarks. It’s located west of the Cumberland River.

The area features many of the attractions that Nashville is best known for. Country music fans can stop by the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Johnny Cash Museum. Staying in Downtown allows you to walk to the Ryman Auditorium and Bridgestone Arena.

Downtown Nashville includes Broadway, which has contributed to Nashville’s nickname “Nashvegas.” Lower Broadway is home to over 30 bars, most of which have no cover charge and have live music all night.

If you are wondering where to stay in Nashville for a bachelor or bachelorette party, being near Broadway is probably the place for you. You can easily spend the entire night bar-hopping!

Not everyone in Downtown is looking to party, though. First-time visitors love staying in Downtown Nashville. It offers easy access to so many of Nashville’s top attractions. 

Pros of Staying in Downtown

  • Walking distance to many attractions
  • Lots of great music venues
  • Free live music all night at most bars

Cons of Staying in Downtown

  • Tends to be crowded during the evening
  • Restaurants and bars are more pricey

📚 Downtown Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Nightlife and Sightseeing
Google Map

Midtown

The campus in Vanderbilt Universoty
The Campus at Vanderbilt University (photo: Bo Shen / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area for Music and Nightlife | Best Midtown Hotels: The GraduateHutton HotelKimpton Aertson Hotel

Midtown lies just west of Downtown Nashville. It’s a popular hangout for both locals and tourists. The area is not as crowded as Downtown, but it is every bit as vibrant.

Nashville’s reputation as Music City is obvious in Midtown. Music lovers can enjoy live music venues that host artists from all music genres. The bars and clubs frequently feature local artists.

Vanderbilt University is located in this neighborhood. The student population helps encourage the nightlife in the area. 

Midtown is also home to Nashville’s Music Row. The district is full of music studios, radio stations, and offices for record labels. Nashville’s legendary music scene was born on Music Row. These offices continue to give new artists their starts today.

Midtown is where to stay in Nashville to experience Nashville’s nightlife and music scene without the crowds of Downtown.

Pros of Staying in Midtown

  • Great music scene
  • Perfect for a more local experience
  • Close to Vanderbilt University
  • Possible to walk to Downtown Nashville from some areas

Cons of Staying in Midtown

  • Not many shopping options
  • Hotels sell out when Vanderbilt University has big events

📚 Midtown Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Music and Nightlife
Google Map

West End

View of the Nashville Parthenon from afar in Centennial Park
Nashville Parthenon in Centennial Park

👉 Best Area for Budget-friend Stays | Best West End Hotels: Hyatt HouseHoliday InnStaybridge Suites

West End is sometimes lumped together with Midtown. The two are next to each other and somewhat similar. West End has less of a nightlife scene and an even more peaceful vibe than Midtown.

Looking for less crowded Nashville attractions? West End is home to Centennial Park, Nashville’s largest urban park. Centennial Park houses the Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the famous Greek Parthenon. 

Centennial Park also hosts many outdoor events throughout the year. Locals flock to this park, but it’s often overlooked by visitors.

The park is one of my favorite areas to visit in Nashville. I love attending the free concerts that take place here during the summer. Be sure to look for those if you stay in West End.

West End is a great area to stay in Nashville. It has more budget accommodations than other areas in the city, but you can still walk to popular Nashville neighborhoods.

Pros of Staying in West End

  • Fewer crowds
  • More budget-friendly than other neighborhoods
  • Possible to walk to Downtown Nashville from some areas
  • Close to Vanderbilt University

Cons of Staying in West End

  • Not in the middle of the action
  • May need transportation to visit some popular attractions

📚  West End Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Budget-friendly Travel
Google Map

Hillsboro Village

View of shops alongside the street and people walking
Shops on 12 South (photo: Iris van den Broek / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area for A Girls’ Weekend Trip | 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Hillsboro Village

Hillsboro Village is south of Music Row between Vanderbilt University and Belmont University. Visitors can enjoy indie vintage shops and the Belcourt theater. Built in 1925, the theater shows over 300 classic and arthouse films each year.

My favorite thing about the area is that Hillsboro Village borders 12 South. This is a half-mile stretch of unique boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and charming coffee shops. It’s the best place to spend a spring morning in Nashville!

Hillsboro Village is one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Nashville. It’s easy to get from one place to another without the neighborhood. Unfortunately, you will need a car to get to most other areas in Nashville except for West End. 

You can easily spend an entire weekend in Hillsboro Village though. The area is perfect for visitors who want a relaxing trip to Nashville. Looking to find the perfect area for a girls’ trip to Nashville? Hillsboro Village makes a great home base.

Pros of Staying in Hillsboro Village

  • The neighborhood has a welcoming charm
  • Easy to walk within the neighborhood
  • Lots of independent, locally-owned stores

Cons of Staying in Hillsboro Village

  • Not as close to the city center
  • Limited accommodations available

📚  Hillsboro Village Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for A Girls’ Weekend Trip
Google Map

The Gulch

View of the Frist Art Museum in Nashville
Frist Art Museum (photo: Courtesy of the Frist Art Museum)

👉 Best Area for a High-End Experience | Best Gulch Hotels: W NashvilleThompson NashvilleFairfield Inn and Suites

The Gulch is a small, trendy neighborhood located between Downtown Nashville and Midtown. This area is small, but it’s the perfect location for those who want an upscale experience in Nashville.

You’ll find Nashville’s trendiest boutiques, spas, and dining here. Art lovers can visit The Frist Art Museum and enjoy the exhibits as well as the Art Deco architecture.

Like any good Nashville neighborhood, the Gulch has live music. Locals and visitors enjoy listening to some of the best bluegrass music in the country at The Station Inn. This tiny club has been open since the 1970s. 

The Gulch is easy to navigate without a car. It’s within walking distance from both the Downtown area and Midtown.

Pros of Staying in the Gulch

  • Easily walkable
  • Lots of trendy restaurants and shops
  • Near the city center
  • Not far from attractions like the Johnny Cash Museum and the Country Music Hall of Fame

Con of Staying in the Gulch

  • One of the most expensive areas in Nashville

📚 Gulch Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for a High-End Experience
Google Map

East Nashville

View of a "No Diving" sign and pool lounge chairs in Dive Motel
Swimming Pool at the Dive Motel in East Nashville (photo: Chris Owens / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area for a Local Experience | Best East Nashville Hotels: The RussellThe Dive MotelThe Gallatin

East Nashville is a mostly residential area located east of Downtown Nashville on the other side of the Cumberland River. The area is quieter than the city center, but it is still centrally located. You can get to most neighborhoods in Nashville quickly from East Nashville. You will need a car if you plan on staying in East Nashville.

The area has a fun, quirky atmosphere. It’s full of coffee shops, local restaurants, and hip bars. Five Points is a popular hangout area with a cool small-town downtown vibe.

East Nashville is one of my personal favorite areas in Nashville. You forget that you’re staying in a city, but you’re still just minutes away from everything Downtown has to offer.

Football fans have easy access to Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans. When games aren’t being played in the stadium, you can catch top-tier artists in concert there.

East Nashville is a great choice for those who are looking to get away from other travelers. You can spend time in Nashville like a local.

Pros of Staying in the East Nashville

  • Fewer crowds
  • More budget friendly than areas near Downtown
  • Easy to get to the rest of Nashville

Cons of Staying in the East Nashville

  • This neighborhood is not as walkable (with the exception of the 5 Points area)
  • Parking is limited at some restaurants and bars
  • Restaurants and bars close earlier since this is a residential area

📚 East Nashville Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for a Local Experience
Google Map

Music Valley

View of Grand Ole Opry House with the American flag
(photo: 4kclips / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area for Families | Best Music Valley Hotels: Gaylord Opryland ResortResidence InnHoliday Inn

Music Valley is located northeast of East Nashville. While it’s not close to the downtown area, this is a popular tourist area. 

Music fans will love the Grand Ole Opry House, a staple in country music history. The Opry features country music legends as well as up-and-coming artists on a weekly basis. The iconic Grand Ole Opry was founded in 1925.

Nearby is Opry Mills, the largest shopping center in Nashville. Everyone will find something they like in the 200+ stores. 

Regardless of whether or not you choose to stay at Opryland Resort, it’s a must-visit in Music Valley. Everyone can explore the 9-acre atrium for free. Tickets are available for many of the other attractions at the resort.

Music Valley is a perfect place for families. The area allows you to spend most of your time in one area but be located relatively near the heart of Nashville.

Pros of Staying in the Music Valley

  • Many tourist attractions
  • Most hotels are cheaper here
  • Easy access to the Grand Ole Opry

Cons of Staying in the Music Valley

  • Requires a drive to get to Downtown Nashville
  • Some of the tourist attractions are a little cheesy

📚 Music Valley Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Families
Google Map

Tips for Staying in Nashville

Choose the best location for your stay

There are so many great attractions in Nashville that it’s impossible to see them all in one visit. Pick a few of the best things to do in Nashville and choose a location based around that. You can always come back for a second (or third) visit.

Avoid chain restaurants 

Nashville has a growing food scene, so I’d encourage you to try as much local cuisine as possible. Nashville has restaurants run by some of the most celebrated regional culinary talents. There’s also plenty of hidden gems that have been quietly producing amazing food for years.

Listen to live music

View of the Robert’s Western World with people enjoying the night
Robert’s Western World on Broadway (photo: Rolf_52 / Shutterstock)

Nashville is the home to many music genres, not just country music. Catch major artists on tour at bigger venues like Nissan Stadium, Bridgestone Arena, or the Ryman Auditorium. Don’t miss out on the chance to hear up-and-coming artists and local talent. You can watch them play at smaller venues throughout the city.

Go watch a game

Aerial view of Nissan Stadium in Nashville
Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tenneesee Titans (photo: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock)

No matter what season it is, there’s some game happening in Nashville. The city has an NFL team, an NHL team, an MLS team, and a minor league baseball team. Going to see the Sounds at First Horizon Park is one of my favorite afternoon plans.

Pay attention to parking

The city has exploded, and the parking options have not kept up. If you are driving a car, figure out parking before heading to destinations in the city. For some locations, walking or taking an Uber may be easier than parking. You will get a ticket if you park in the wrong place.

Look for free events happening in Nashville

With hotel rooms, transportation, dining, and shopping, your stay in Nashville can become expensive. There’s always some interesting free event happening in Nashville. Find out what’s going on during your stay in Nashville.

👉 Read More of Our Guides:

FAQs About Where to Stay in Nashville

What is the safest area to stay in Nashville TN?

The safest areas to stay in Nashville are Downtown, Midtown, and Music Valley. There are always lots of visitors around. Most of Nashville is safe, especially during the day. Just like any city, be aware of your surroundings.

Where is the best part of Nashville to stay?

The best part of Nashville to stay for first-time visitors is generally Downtown and Music Valley. Both of those areas are close to major attractions and have lots of hotel options. With that said, most of Nashville is safe, especially during the day. 

What is the nicest part of Nashville?

The Gulch is Nashville’s newest trendy neighborhood and one of the nicest parts of the city. You’ll find some of the best luxury hotels here as well as upscale shopping and dining options.

Where is the hipster part of Nashville?

East Nashville is widely considered to be the hipster part of Nashville. The area is mainly residential and retains a lot of its unique character. The area has lots of coffee shops, vegan restaurants, vintage boutiques, and craft beer bars.

***

Hopefully, this article has helped you figure out where to stay in Nashville. If you liked it, definitely don’t miss my epic list of the best stuff to do in Nashville.

No matter which neighborhood you end up choosing, I hope that you enjoy your stay in Nashville!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.